What image comes to mind when you think of worship music being performed? Is it a lone singer in the forefront, backed by a chorus, leading a group of believers in traditional melodies of praise? Most people have that perception---except for those whoíve seen and listened to the Christian rock band known as deliriou5? (pronounced delirious).
Hailing from Littlehampton, England, Delirious has changed the way young Brits and Americans view the contemporary worship genre. Firstly, theyíre a group. One man doesnít serve as official worship leader; five do, thus the "5" in the bandís name. (Incidentally, the name "Delirious" is not a reflection of the bandís state of mind, but merely a fun word chosen to rhyme with their own record label, Furious?.) The members are lead singer Martin Smith, drummer Stewart Smith, keyboardist Tim Jupp, bassist Jon Thatcher, and guitarist Stuart Garrard. Secondly, their sound is atypical of traditional worship music. The question mark (?) in their title is symbolic of the desire to avoid the typical and not put constraints on worship, God, or themselves. Theyíre often compared to bands like U2 and Oasis, delivering chunky power chords, insistent grooves, and memorable choruses. Not your fatherís church music, to be sure, but a ministry that impacts the lives of todayís youth, Christians and seekers alike.
"We want to push music outside the boundaries of the church," explains Martin. "We are a band who plays for the church and the street." In the early days of 1996, when Delirious went by the name of Cutting Edge, the attendees of Englandís Arun Community Church outreach service were among the first to hear this boundary-breaking band. What began as a youth group ministry co-led by Stewart became a musical worship experience which he says "provided an environment where they [teens] could express their relationship with God in a way with which they were comfortable." Martin, Stewart, and Tim birthed the band, and Jon and Stuart rounded out the group. Crowds consistently grew, news of the group spread, two independent records were released, and requests for concert appearances came pouring in. With virtually no media support, Deliriousís first four singles reached the Top 10 of the U.K. Indie chart. And when the boys signed on with Sparrow/Chordant distributors, they were introduced to America.
King of Fools and Mezzamorphis are the albums Americans are most familiar with. A fan review in Musicforce.com has this to say of the former: "King of Fools is an exceptional CD that provides a good balance between authentic worship and alternative creativity. Delirious does a great job in lifting the listenerís thoughts toward the Lord without falling into the stereotypical trappings of a Ďpraise bandí "óa definitive description of this groupís unique style of music ministry.
(Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in this profile were drawn from Chordant Distribution Groupís Web site.)